2021 Mid-Year Update

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I wanted to create a quick addition to the start of this post to say that I am beyond humbled and so appreciative of all your amazingly kind, supporting, encouraging, and loving comments below. You’ve touched my heart in ways that words cannot explain. When I wrote this post, I didn’t expect such a response or outpouring of love. In fact, I was feeling bad about not being as active with my postings lately and just wanted to explain and apologize. You have overwhelmed, encouraged, and inspired me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to many more years of Inspired by Charm and this beautiful community.

Friends, how is 2021 treating you? I can’t believe we are almost halfway through the year. As I grow older, time seems to just go faster and faster. Does anyone else feel this way?

Given that we are at this point in the year, I thought it would be a good time to check in with you, share a little update, talk about the year, and chat about what’s on the horizon.

While there is nothing major happening, I’m always a bit hesitant to share these more “personal” posts. So much has changed in blogging over the past five years or so that posts like this seem almost taboo. However, I’ve felt the tug to write a little update, so here I go.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

A QUIET 2021:

If you follow the blog closely you may have noticed that things have slowed down somewhat dramatically after a very busy holiday season. This year’s gas felt really different. I assume it’s the combination of the dumpster fire that was 2020 and just feeling what I’ve determined to be a need to pivot.

“The need to pivot.”

I came across the following thought in a meme and it just hit a nerve of truth for me: “I want you to stop confusing exhaustion with unfulfillment. You aren’t tired, you’re unfulfilled. Give yourself permission to pivot.”

I have been blogging since 2009 and it has been my full-time job since 2013. While lots of changes have happened in that time period, twelve years is still a long time to be doing relatively the “same thing.” Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for my job and still generally love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else, nor do I want to do anything else. I suppose the blogging just feels a bit mundane on occasion.

2021 has just brought on this feeling of being tired/exhausted. This feeling has left me uninspired and unmotivated. At first, I just assumed that my creativity well had just dried up, or that maybe I had lost my talents, or that maybe I was just plain old lost. But what I’m learning is that maybe I’m not tired. Maybe I just need to pivot. I need something to be overly passionate about again.

The behind-the-scenes of blogging has become A LOT. It’s simply not enough to create a project/recipe, photograph it, and then share it. There are dozens of algorithms to keep up with just to be seen. There are dozens of “requirements” that Google puts into place that constantly change. These requirements need to be met, maintained, and constantly adjusted in order to be seen. And don’t get me started on social media. If you’re not outperforming yourself or putting on a grand show with every post, you basically don’t exist. Plus, you also “need to” create an Instagram Story, Timelapse, Pinterest Story, Google Story, IG Reel, and YouTube video about it. Say what!?

I love what I do, but because of all of these external “requirements,” a simple blog post seems like a heavy task rather than a simple joy.

I’m also trying to avoid comparison. As I mentioned above, blogging has changed so much. Many bloggers now have teams of people working for them. They have teams of people … assistants, people that write their posts, photographers, content managers, SEO experts, social media managers, videographers, and the list goes on. (And there’s nothing wrong with that approach. These folks are killing it and I love watching their businesses grow.)

Here at Inspired by Charm, it’s just me for the most part. I do have someone that edits my posts for grammar and spelling, and I have an amazing couple that has been filming videos for my recipe posts. (I’ve been adding those to my blog posts, YouTube Channel, and IGTV.) These people have been such a blessing to my business.

Some days I welcome the excitement and drive to keep moving forward and to become better than I was the day before, but other times I’m just annoyed and frustrated as I didn’t sign up for all of the “extras” that I just mentioned. I don’t want to be the CEO of some online media empire. I don’t want to be a manager of a team of people. I just want to live in my own space while creating, sharing, and inspiring.

It’s interesting too because I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers and Instagrammers have talked about the same thing in one way or another. Some have stepped away completely. Others are taking the summer off. Others have made shifts in how or what type of content they are producing. Being aware of these situations has been so comforting. It makes me feel a little less crazy knowing that others are feeling the same way.

And I don’t say all of this to complain. I feel happy. I feel blessed. I feel a sense of purpose in that this is what I should be doing with my life. I suppose it’s just a reminder to be a little kinder to myself, do what I can, and not compare what one person can do to that of what a team of 6 can do.

While I’m generally pretty hard on myself, I’m trying to remind myself that this is just one of those ebbs in life that we all have. Thankfully ebbs don’t last forever. I’ll be chugging along on my flow in no time!

So how do I pivot? That’s my challenge because I haven’t figured that out yet! Ha! To be honest, I think a big part of it is just changing how I see and respond to things. It’s simply about showing up, doing my best every day. meeting the requirements I can, forgetting the rest, and then being at peace with it all. “We can do anything, but we can’t do everything.”

In a nutshell, that’s the long and short of where I’ve been at these days … physically and mentally. I think 2021 is just a year to be a bit quieter. A year to pause and reflect… and that’s okay.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story


Phew! With that chunk of information out of the way, I thought I would share some of the other things I’ve been up to for the first half of the year.

While this isn’t everything, these are some of the most notable things:

Crate and Barrel Collaboration: If you missed it at the end of last month, I shared a post about my side porch and fire pit area in collaboration with Crate and Barrel. (You can find that HERE if you did miss it.) This has honestly been the highlight of my year. As mentioned above, I’ve been blogging for 12 years and Crate and Barrel has been the one brand I’ve dreamed of working with. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

There’s even a dedicated page to my design and product selections on their website. I didn’t even know that this was going to happen. I was filled with so much excitement and gratitude when they shared the link on their Facebook page.

Firepit Landscaping Makeover: The aforementioned collaboration motivated me to tackle another project on my list … a makeover of my backyard fire pit area. I’ve been sharing the progress on my Instagram feed. (There is a saved IG Highlights if you missed it.) The project turned out better than I expected. I love having this little oasis in my own backyard.

I will be sharing more about this on the blog VERY soon. I’m just waiting for a few more plants. Once they arrive and I get them into the ground, I will do a full post about the update.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Gardening: This spring I was really busy outside. I planted over 60 perennials plus a few new trees and shrubs. And that’s in addition to the 70+ plants I added to the landscaping around my fire pit.

Gardening is a labor of love. And while the fruits of this labor will take a couple of years to fill out and unfold, I was so happy to make such great progress.

My Art Practice: I’ve shared a couple of posts about this on the blog (here and here), but 2021 has been a year where I dove headfirst back into my art practice. It couldn’t have come at a better time as this has been a nice mini pivot for me and something I’ve really been enjoying.

I signed up for three local in-person art courses. One was an introduction to painting which has been completed. Currently, I’m in an oil painting class where the students work on whatever project they choose and the instructor provides guidance. I LOVE the instructor and students, so this has been wonderful. This particular course will end this week and then the following week I will start a new course focusing on painting Pittsburgh landscapes en plein air. Plein air essentially means painting outside. The class will meet every week at a new outdoor location and we’ll paint outside from life. I’m especially excited about this class!

Art has brought me so much joy and peace this year; I really want to dive deeper into it. I have been trying to make art a daily habit. And while I’m not quite there, I have been painting or drawing as much as possible.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story


While 2021 has brought a more relaxed blogging and working schedule, I’m not just sitting around in my PJs. I do have some fun projects in the works. I’ll be sharing more about each of these as they come to life, but here’s a little sneak peek.

Retaining Wall: When it fits into my budget, my goal is to tackle one large project each year. Two years ago it was my kitchen makeover, last year it was custom cabinetry for my entryway and living room, and this year it’s a 100 ft. two-tiered retaining wall in my backyard.

This project will happen in September, but I spent a lot of time figuring out the plan and finding the best contractors. Once this project is complete, it will open the doors to allow me to add even more to my backyard including a shed, garden, outdoor oven, etc. I can’t wait!

Bedroom Updates: I have two bedrooms in my house that have mostly gone untouched since I moved in. While they don’t require major renovations, I want to give them some sort of style direction. One room will get painted, the other room will receive wallpaper, and both will get new light fixtures and furnishings.

The goal is just to have these spaces feel more complete and intentional.

Basement Studio: This might be the project I’m most excited about. I’ve never shared my basement online before. It’s not that it’s all that bad, it’s just an awkward space with bad lighting.

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to turn my basement into a little creative studio. (I’ve been doing my art out of a small section of a bedroom and it just isn’t cutting it.) Well, I’m finally going to do it! I will obviously take you along on the journey (before photos coming soon!) and share my plans and process.

In a nutshell, here’s what needs to be done:
– update lighting
– repair and paint paneling (walls)
– new flooring
– furnish and style
– update doors and windows

While this isn’t a major renovation, there is still a lot to be done. I’m hoping to tackle some of the projects myself, I’m also bringing in some folks to do the projects that are beyond my skill/knowledge level. Thankfully I have some great folks lined up so the project should be underway soon.

With all of these design projects, my current plan is to take my time with them. While I’m anxious to get them completed (especially the basement studio), I’m in no rush.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Art Practice: As I mentioned above, my art practice is currently a big focus for me. My goal is to be able to do one painting each day. As I’ve watched and listened to other artists talk about their evolution and practice. the one thing I heard, again and again, is how important and helpful it was for them to paint every day.

I’m still working on developing my style and trying to figure out what medium and subjects I like best. Once I feel more confident and have a clear direction, I would love to be able to create a collection and offer some work for sale. I’ve been so surprised at how many folks have asked about purchasing some of my art. I would love to make this a reality.

More of What You Love About IBC: I also plan to bring you more of what you love. While I’m not going anywhere and updates will continue to be here on the blog and on Instagram, I suspect that things will be slow and quiet for the rest of the summer and things will ramp up around August. But who knows, that could change! I’m trying to let 2021 unfold as it would like. No pressure. I hope you’ll stick with me.

… I think that’s enough for the year, right?

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story


So that was a lot. Haha. I think I should wrap things up here.

While I knew this post would be informative, I didn’t realize how long it would be until my fingers hit the keyboard. I hope that this was insightful, informative, and gave you a little look at how I’ve been spending my days.

If you’ve gotten this far in this post, congratulations, and thank you for sticking with me. Now, this is the point where I’ll ask you what you’d like to see here. And while I always appreciate the typical responses of “more of the same, recipes, keep doing what you’re doing,” etc., I’d really love to know what your soul is craving more of when you come online. What brings you here? Also, when you leave this space, what left you feeling happy and inspired. What improved your day, your home, your life. Let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

Until next time, my friends!

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  1. I understand the fact that you’re overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the algorithms and metrics of social media, Google, etc. I’m a little tired and bored by those people. I enjoy reading blogs by “real” people not “influencers”. I really detest that term, it’s very degrading for the rest of us regular people. I enjoy looking at beautiful homes, yours especially because it’s beautiful and interesting and not over the top decorated. Keep up the great work and enjoy the journey.

  2. I really appreciate your comments. I didn’t realize all that goes into maintaining a blog. I think it OS important for others to know about the hard work it entails.

    Thank you so much,

  3. Michael, I am so happy you are still going to post because even if they are fewer and farther between, your blogs are always of the highest quality and are impeccable!! I love the posts about your room renovations and garden spaces the most! Your paintings make my eyes and heart happy! You do you in your own time and own it!! I love your taste in everything!

  4. Michael,

    As many have stated previously – I too have followed you for years and this is the first I am writing. I LOVE YOUR ART and would be the first in line to purchase something that you created. You have a gift and it’s just the pivot you have been looking for. Trust your heart, I bet you would be surprised how many of your followers, and others, would be happy to purchase a piece of art from you. You are so talented – let the paint and your hands be your guide.

  5. Michael, I’ve followed you for years, and I love how your blog has evolved, today’s sharing is what I adore about you! You are real, telling it like it is, I think that is why I love you as a dear friend as I share my morning coffee catching up with you daily. I learn so much from you with each season and all it holds in your decorating, cooking and gardening. I’ve taken so much for granted in what goes in to each of your blogs, thank you for the info, I really appreciate it!
    This year I’ve felt as if I was in a void, no social contact, no trips to look forward to, my highlight would be reading your blog where life seemed normal, again thank you!
    I love the paintings you have shared with us, you have amazing talent, I too would love to purchase one from you when you are ready. I can’t wait for the before and after with your downstairs art studio as you create it, and then the retaining wall in your yard and more landscaping!!! Hugs, Debbie

  6. I simply adore you! What do I love about your blog posts? I feel like I could totally sit down and have a cup of coffee with you- discuss the best potting soil, the right amount of spices for that holiday cocktail, what kind of flooring goes with a particular décor style… without you trying to get me to buy everything you use, but giving me suggestions based on things that have worked for you. Your experiences and insight help me make better decisions for my own home because you’ve been there, done that. The best part about your posts are that they are YOU and not something a bunch of analytics say they need to be. I think the fact that you are being yourself and not trying to re-invent the wheel or put on an over-the-top dog and pony show with each post makes you relatable and I always, always find little tidbits from your blog that I incorporate into my own home & yard. There has not been a single post you’ve shared that I haven’t said “That’s such a great idea! I need to do/try/make that!” and then I actually do/try/make it! In fact, your recent side porch post encouraged me to focus on re-doing my own porch, gave me lots of easy and affordable ideas and helped me turn it into an inviting outdoor space I now love! We even had a bbq with friends over the weekend and everyone raved about the new space! I can say that several of your cocktail recipes were on the menu and were a hit! Your butler pantry and new front entry with built-ins is officially my new #lifegoals. So, do your posts influence me in a positive way and encourage me to make a more comfortable environment in my own home? Absolutely! I really can’t think of a single thing you could do differently, other than sit down and have a cup of coffee with me. 🙂

  7. What lovely art and spaces you have created! I would love more insight on your mixing/ matching process and how you weed /add and what other options you tried to give a space a different look or feel.

  8. You are enough, in any form, without all the extra doodads, although you often give us so many extra doodads!! I love your account and what you bring to the table. I love your honesty. I love your willingness to be vunerable and share your passions. It has ben so much fun watching you paint! I appreciate that you share things with us even if you worry that it is too much, or not enough. You are a pleasure to follow.

  9. As a long time follower, I would just like more of the same… I enjoy the recipes very much… and I enjoyed watching you style, though I don’t pursue these things myself. I love the gardening entries.

  10. I feel this post in my soul! Wanting to pivot while being unsure about where or how to pivot is one of the greatest struggles. Love that you’re giving yourself the space and grace to figure it all out. We should all be so kind to ourselves.

    Also- just wanted to say that I’m obsessed with your art. You are beyond talented. I would love, love to see and hear more about your art journey and tips and tricks you pick up along the way. Your en plein air class sounds so fun! I hope you enjoy it and can’t wait to see what comes out of it (if you decide to share of course). As some other comments have mentioned, I would definitely be interested in purchasing your art if you ever decide to “pivot” in that direction 🙂

    Also – just wanted to share that one thing that I’ve been particularly enjoying lately is your cocktails. Getting together with friends in the new normal has been so nice and every time I get together with someone I pick a drink from your site to make for them. Everyone always loves them. So just wanted to say thank you 🙂 You’re a creative master from art to decorating to cocktails and food, and I’m forever grateful for the sparkle and joy you bring to my life.

  11. It sounds like you are in a good place, Michael. 2020 was very difficult for me. It was difficult to get motivated. Even following my favorite blogs didn’t feel as juicy as before. 2021 has brought a renewed vigor. Guess I pivoted without realizing it!!! I’m delighted that you are continuing your blog. Take good care of you!!!

  12. It sounds like you are in a good place, Michael. 2020 was very difficult for me. It was difficult to get motivated. Even following my favorite blogs didn’t feel as juicy as before. 2021 has brought a renewed vigor. Guess I pivoted without realizing it!!! I’m delighted that you are continuing your blog. Take good care of you!!!

  13. Long time reader/subscriber, infrequent commenter. (sorry?)
    I always love your for real. honest posts. You just seem like such a genuine person.
    To be honest, I’ve been put off by the whole blogging world lately. I’m not a blogger, and I certainly don’t need influencers telling me where/what/who. I appreciate being invited in someone’s home and seeing the tiniest most whimsical thing that sparks joy in their life. Lately, if I peruse a blog, it just feels like I may have an epileptic seizure with all the popups, videos and advertising etc…I don’t mind advertising. I’m happy for bloggers to make a living off of what sounds like a more than full time job. It’s just so chaotic lately. It sounds even more chaotic seeing the backside! Just know, I have gone from following about 3 dozen blogs to just yours and a couple others. I’m happy to follow a blogger through life’s ups and downs, and watch their style change. But never lose your most authentic self. You are valuable beyond measure. I’ll look forward to wherever the road takes you. And, I’ve been known to revisit old blog posts for design ideas.

  14. Oh Michael! Reading all of these comments, I hope you feel so validated and appreciated. I, too, am a “long-time follower, rarely comment” kind of reader. All of this “stuff” is way over the top and people recognize authenticity and appreciate it as well. The plus side of all of this information dropped in our laps is that we have access to it, the downside is that we have all this information dropped in our laps! Who we choose to read is a reflection of ourselves and our interests at the present moment. Style changes, interest changes, but authenticity always appeals in my opinion. Life wouldn’t be interesting if we didn’t have a few ups and downs. As someone else wrote earlier. “You do you”, and we will happily follow along!

  15. Beautiful post today. You always talk from your heart, and I enjoy that about you.
    I have deleted so many blog accounts…they are all the same. I am just not interested. Please take time for yourself. Enjoy each new day, and know that you are loved by thousands of people.
    Much love from AZ!

  16. You are the ONLY blogger I follow. I found you when looking for a recipe and ended up scrolling through your site for hours. Your posts are so genuine and your style is so AMAZING that I hit the subscribe button and I’m so glad I did. You have given me a ton of inspiration on how to decorate my space. Also, I followed you on Insta and your gardening updates are just so relaxing and interesting, I love them. Thank you so much for doing those! My outdoor space is a wreck so I like to live vicariously through your beautiful space. 😀 I think 2020 made people sit back and reflect on their lives and now 2021 has caused many people to “pivot” and focus on what is important. Just keep doing what makes you happy! You’re awesome!

  17. Michael, I’ve been quietly following you for years and years, and loved this update. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, just a little. I think it is entirely normal, and healthy, to feel the need to pause a bit this year. Last year was about survival and I think we all felt the same urgency to just keep pushing forward and stay super active as a coping mechanism. Heaven knows, I was thankful for your space here, as it provided a wonderful escape for me many times!

    Enjoy this time of quiet, and your art exploration. I can’t wait to see what comes next, and am happy to wait patiently for you to share it!